Merry Christmas from The Movie Snob.
Wild (B). Co-producer Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) stars in this adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling book about hiking up the Pacific Crest Trail. It was pretty good. Cheryl is a mess; you quickly gather that her mother died pretty young, and that this tragedy screwed young Cheryl up royally. After indulging in some seriously self-destructive behavior and destroying her marriage to a decent-seeming guy, she decides for some reason that she is going to hike this wilderness trail from the southern tip of California to Canada, or at least as far as Portland. The movie follows Cheryl’s trek linearly, but it pauses frequently for flashbacks to show how Cheryl got where she was—mostly flashbacks to life with her mother (played by Laura Dern, The Fault in Our Stars). The movie certainly held my interest, and there are some tense moments (mainly when tiny little Reese encounters strange men out in the middle of nowhere). But I didn’t find Cheryl all that relatable a character (kind of like the gal in Tracks, the similar true story of a woman who walked across Australia), and I would have liked to have seen more about Cheryl’s “real life” with her husband before she set out on her journey. Still, worth seeing, and I fully expect some Oscar buzz for Reese and maybe for director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club).